The phrase is the opening line of the John Keats’s poem—Endymion. The gist of the famous poem can be interpreted in various ways. The sense of beauty and its display which continues to expand is considered eternal and hence utopian in nature—the symbolic emblem. It is ubiquitous but intangible—very soft and dynamic. Oh, it is a joy to feel but only for those who believe in the euphoria of small things.
We live in a world of contradictions that bleed and bloom every day. So where is beauty? Is it only stonewalled to the world that blooms and ostracises the other half? Is it only in the nature that still flourishes but not to the Amazon Forest that is burning down to flames? Perhaps the burning of a forest or the world does not count to the definition of beauty, but then what is beauty? Has anyone seen it? Has anyone defined it? How come destruction and bleeding world cannot be seen as a thing of beauty? If beauty is ubiquitous then it can be seen anywhere and everywhere, it can be witnessed on the starving smiles of refugees, it can be felt in the sprinkles of water in the desert’s dry heat and yes it can apparently be looked into the survival of the Amazon Forest and hope of the people residing in the bleeding world, but how does this beauty become a thing of joy forever?
To understand the depth of the phrase in its entirety, one of the interpretation of beauty out of various interpretations as propounded by John Keats himself cannot be overlooked. Keats was known as the Junior Shakespeare who learnt the translated Bhagwad Gita in the prose form and for him the concept of beauty was not just a thought of praising nature or finding joy in the things, rather beauty was an ideology, a doctrine of life with which the soul, body and mind are interwoven and beauty leads to the ultimate spiritual truth and inner satisfaction of the soul, though there can be many interpretations of his point of view but the quest of beauty ends when one perceives beauty as a tool to find joy. The question arises that if nothing lasts, then how joy can survive without beauty, the answer to this lies in the following line of the poem which says that “Its loveliness increases, it will never pass into nothingness.”
It is indeed true that nothing lasts specially if it is tangible whereas joy is a mirthful feeling and feelings are to be felt not seen, to be experienced not witness, thus beauty of the thing will eventually fade away virtually but the joy shall remain eternally and with each remembrance it will be more fresh than ever and will never pass into nothingness.
To understand the depth of the phrase we can take some examples : When the lander Vikram of Chandrayaan-2 went silent on moon, it united us as a nation, we celebrated its almost 95% success through different ways; though our hearts ached at that particular moment when ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) lost signal with Lander Vikram but ever wondered how our hearts felt even after the ISRO last contact with the lander, a vibrant feeling running down the nerves and a gleam in our eyes that we almost reached to the surface in the first attempt when no country could. There was a beauty in watching the mission live on television and then there was a joy that poured down as sweet tears and silent smiles. The feeling is still alive today and shall remain there forever, whenever the future generations will talk about the missions of ISRO or whenever the successful landing will take place in future. The joy of witnessing the Chandrayaan-2 mission will revive, filling us with zeal and leaving us flabbergasted, apparently, there will be no Chandrayaan-2 then. But, its beauty will always be there blooming and coming forth in the form of joy as fresh as morning mist.
Second example is undoubtedly related to nature and its beauty as William Wordsworth’s poem, “Daffodils”, depicts the epitome of beauty expressed through exuberant majesty of flowers “simple yellow Daffodils”. Wordsworth praised the beauty of the Daffodils as if he is viewing them by immersing in their fragrance at that particular moment. But irony is that the poem was inspired by an event that happened years ago when he with his sister who fell for the enchanting beauty of Daffodils and the beauty that was captured in his eyes was still the same when he penned down the poem. The joy he felt is still reflected in the poem when readers read it which is nothing but the memories seized in a moment effect of which are to last forever.
And the last example is where all Indians can relate to: the smell of tea or the brewing coffee, even though your lips haven’t sipped it yet, tongue has not slurped it yet and the heat has not reached down the throat yet, the smell has already widened the nostrils and closed the eyes entering into the feeling of heaven one finds in just a cup. If that is not joy of beauty, then what it is? Joy needs not to be in so-called great things, joy is not a big deal to crack, it is present in everything you perceive as beautiful, even if it’s just a cup of tea or coffee which you will remember to replenish your memories; beautiful memories which no longer exist at that particular moment.
Joy in the phrase is a metaphor of memories emanating from a sense of harmony and symbiosis called beauty. Memories that eventually trigger feelings and feelings which are positive and pleasant ones are the outcome of a thing called beauty. When these memories are looked up to, they provide contentment compounding in intensity every time we recount and never cease to exist. Thus, joy is the memory that never dies and if it dies then it weren’t the thing of beauty in the first place. As long as a memory is alive even in the faded
form, the joy will never fade into nothingness.
Beauty is the way of life, it is true that life cannot be always beautiful but if life is lived with the feeling of ecstasy then even failures can be seen just as failed attempts and not a failed life. As Mehmet Murat Ildan has rightly said : “There is a great beauty in little things”.